India has been pushing hard to reduce its plastic waste as a nation and their efforts have been very successful. In the country’s most recent triumph over plastic pollution, the capital region of Delhi issued a ban on all disposable plastics, which will take effect in 2017. But India has been moving away from plastics for many years and many cities have already issued plastic bag bans. While legislation like this helps to protect our environment and wildlife, a young entrepreneur, Ashwath Hegde, noticed that it was a hardship for many Indians. “People were concerned bout how they would carry products from the market now. Everyone cannot afford a bag worth Rs. 5 or Rs. 15 to carry a kilogram of sugar,” Hegde told The Better India. So he decided to come up with a solution that would be sustainable and affordable.
Hegde founded EnviGreen and began to tinker with ways to make plastic-like substances that would be: “100 percent organic, biodegradable, and eco-friendly.” He eventually landed on a combination of natural starch and vegetable oils to make a bag that looks and feels just like plastic with none of the negative environmental impacts of a plastic vessel. EnviGreen’s bags will naturally degrade in 180 days and if they are submerged in water they disappear in a day. Oh and also – these bags are edible. This means that when animals encounter non-degraded bags, they can eat them with no adverse effects. To prove that these bags are completely safe to ingest, Hegde dropped one into some boiling water and gulped it down and smiled at the end of his interview with The Better India.
India is not the only country fighting reduce plastic pollution. Britan recently passed a law putting a tax on plastic bags that has greatly reduced the plastic waste on their beaches. But we should all join in the fight against plastic because it affects the entire planet. Right now we use over 100 billion single-use plastic bags and most of them end up in the ocean. There are over 270 million tons of plastic in our oceans and we add 8.8 million tons of new plastic waste to them each year. Over 700 species are endangered because of plastic waste and over 90 percent of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs. So until EnviGreen’s bags are available at your supermarket, bring your own from home. Join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic movement and learn how you can help to prevent plastic pollution.